Joe Bruno on Boxing –Alex RamosIt's not too often that you get a nice heart-warming story in boxing, so when you get one it's a breath of clean, fresh air.I started covering the career of middleweight Alex Ramos from the time he won four golden glove titles in New York City in the late 1970's (1977-80). Ramos was on the USABoxing Team from 1978-80, but when then-president Jimmy Carter decided to play politicalhardball with Russia and boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Ramos was denied his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. (Tony Ayala, Bernard Taylor, Mitch Green, Tony Tucker,Johnny Bumphus and Davey Moore were also on the 1980 Olympic Team). Ramos' amateur record was 189 wins, 9 losses with a whopping 132 knockouts.Ramos was a happy-go-lucky kid with an effervescent personality and one of the best lefthooks in boxing. He also was burdened by an exuberant love for wine, women and song, and in boxing that is not a very good thing. With Lou Duva and Shelly Finkel as his managers, andGeorge Benton as his trainer, Ramos was one of "Tomorrows Champions" and his pro career wasoff to a booming start. In 1984 he won the USBA Middleweight Title with a unanimous decisionover Curtis Parker, who at the time was the number one ranked middleweight in the world. Healso beat future light heavyweight champion J.B. Williamson.But then Ramos' boxing career started to crumble. He did win theCaliforniaMiddleweight title in 1986, but losses to Ted Sanders and James Kitchen, and adisputed loss to John Collins set Ramos back. Ramos fought off and on the next decade, but henever displayed the genius in the ring that he had earlier in his career. There were looses tofuture champions Murray Sutherland and Michael Nunn, and a loss to Jorge Castro in Argentina.Then literally the roof caved in, and Ramos, fighting the demons of alcoholism and substanceabuse, found himself homeless and penniless living on the streets. He "awoke from the darkness"as he describes it, following a dream about Joe Louis and other fighters who died penniless andhumiliated. He entered rehab, and today Ramos, now only 37 years old, fights the biggest fightof his life trying to stay clean and sober.In 1995, Ramos founded the Retired Boxers Foundation, a non-profit foundationdedicated to helping former boxers who are now down and out and looking for some dignity inwhat is left of their lives. The RBF executive director is Jacquie Richardson. Ms. Richardson hastwenty years in marketing and public relations and 10 years in grant writing and funddevelopment.Ms. Richardson said, " I've written over $5 million in grants, so I'm very good at what Ido and I'm very picky. I've been working with Alex for a little over a year now and we havemade progress. We have found ways to help fighters in trouble, and a the same time, get the wordout to the public on the difficulties far too many retired fighters have once they leave their glorious days in the ring. While the job seems overwhelming, it would surprise you how little aneffort it takes sometime to make a real difference. We have made referrals for medical care, rehaband even had a surgical procedure donated for a fighter."